Post # 1
I woke up this morning with a rant on my mind. I’m itching to post it on facebook, but figured I’d get it out here and see how I feel about it!
Dear friends and family,
It’s so great to see you this holiday season. We’re so happy that you are getting to meet the baby for the first time. We would appreciate it if you could refrain from using the words “fat” “chubby” “pudgy” or “overweight” with our daughter. Not that it matters, but she is 50%ile for height and weight. She is starting to develop receptive language and I do not want one of the first things she internalizes to be that she is overweight. Don’t we already have enough body image problems in this society? Please leave my daughter out of it. She’s a healthy, normal baby. Thank you so much!
OK, end rant. I’m so fed up with people saying our baby is fat. They are so freaking insistent about it. Yesterday a couple of people said it multiple times even after I said that she is 50%ile for weight. Grr… Why are they trying to give our baby self image problems?
Post # 3
Rude. I would just say “thank you so much, that is so kind of you to say” and make them feel like assholes. Don’t even try to get into the 50% discussion.
My friends had twins that were “chubby” babies. EVERYONE commented on it, and she would get so upset. They are now three and the tiniest little girls ever.
Post # 4
Wow. It is amazing to me that people feel like they have a right to comment on something like that in that way. I still find it fascinating how normal social boundaries seem to be broken down when a woman is pregnant or there is a baby around. My friend said she has strangers tell her how skinny her daughter is. Weird.
Post # 5
Obviously your feelings trump here, as you are the parent, but if I were to use the term “fat” to describe a baby, it would be used as a term of endearment. I don’t know about the specific situations you encountered, but I can definitely imagine an auspice under which one could say “oh look at you, you cute, fat baby,” and actually mean “look at you, you cute, baby-proportioned baby.” Lots of people think fat is a cute trait to have in a baby and they may be trying to compliment you. Or they may feel hell-bent on expressing their opinion. Either way, they may resist when you tell them your baby is at the 50th percentile for weight because to admit as much feels like you are trying to deny their opinion, which people always resist.
Instead of telling them “no she’s not actually physically fat,” maybe you could spin the comments into more positive language and then evade. The next time someone says, “oh your baby is so fat,” you can try to respond to the underlying tone. If they’re saying it in a cute voice, you can respond by saying, “Yes, she sure is cute,” and then change the subject. Depending on the person (like if it is someone you will see a lot of), you could preface by saying “Well, I don’t like calling my child fat, but I agree, she sure is cute and just a perfect specimen of a baby.” If someone is truly criticizing her weight I think you should be more direct. But for those who mean well, this approach may achieve a better result than just telling people not to call her fat because you say what you need to say while still making people feel heard.
Good luck and don’t worry! The most important messages come from you, and you are doing a great job.
Post # 6
I’m with you on this one! Not a term I want my baby to use as an adjective to define self mentally!
Post # 7
totally rude!! I can’t imagine saying that about a baby!
Post # 8
Girls have enough body image and weight issues throughout their lives. They certainly don’t need to start in infancy/toddlerhood. I’d speak up.
Post # 9
Maybe people don’t realize how rude they are, or they are slightly joking? I don’t want to offend anyone, but to me- a baby that has more substance looks much healthier than a skinny baby. When a baby is too small, it looks less healthy. I am glad you have a healthy baby! 🙂
Post # 10
Chelsea- Unfortunately, the tactics that you mention were already tried in instances one, two and three of the interaction that prompted this rant. The part I’m posting is after the polite deflecting comments.
The person I have in mind at this moment (though there are numerous offenders) said, “Hmm, is the baby really tall?” No, she’s actually 50%ile for height. “Oh, well than she just must be really chubby?” Nope, 50%ile for weight. “God, she just looks really huge! And are those fat rolls on her wrist? Oh, she is a totally fat baby!” At this point I say nothing… Topic is brought up again… “So how much do you feed her?” I explain feeding regimen. “Are you sure you aren’t over-feeding her…” Sigh, I get the point and stop responding. Yes, I get it. You think my baby is unhealthfully fat 🙁
Post # 11
I think it is completely rude – no wonder young girls have such issues with their bodies, when it starts so young. I wish I could banish that word from the English language.
I have seen pictures of your sweet little girl, and she is so far from fat! She is a beautiful little baby!
Post # 12
Wow, based on that conversation that was really rude and she was clearly implying that you overfeed your baby. People should mind their own business!
I do have to agree with some of the other posters though that sometimes I think people use chub as a term of endearment. I love “chubby” babies and I do think that babies seem cuter when they have little rolls.
Post # 13
@jubyju22: I agree. I definitely don’t mind a comment like, “Oh, what chubby cheeks!”. But these persistent comments seem to be crossing the line for me.
Post # 14
OH bummer! I hear your pain! I feel so bad b/c my good friend had a baby this past year and he had to be in the high upper percentile….but he was so cute and round so I exclaimed about L’s baby being big more than once at the party to her face. I couldn’t get over it and told DH that L’s baby was like a marshmallow and he’s soooo big!! (The parents are both on the small or petite size). Anyway, I felt pretty guilty when I realized I was talking loud and mommy could possibly overhear me.
I think mostly I was noticing it b/c I’m pregnant and have fears of having an extremely large baby pop pout at birth. Next time I saw him, I said “OH–(Baby) stretched out!” And he definitely did look like a 9 month old lanky basketball player. Why do I put my foot in my mouth!! Maybe she’ll forgive me b/c I’m not a mom yet.
I totally understand you being upset and wanting to protect your sweet little girl. This may be a little off topic but wonder if it would feel differently if people said the same thing about a BOY baby vs. a GIRL baby.
Post # 15
I have a friend on facebook who posted something similar on her status (not about children though)- no one is loving it and everyone thinks she’s a nut. What she posted was correct, but it is tactless and passive aggressive to post it for EVERYONE to see (There are 1-2 offenders out of her 200 some friends). If the chubby term irks you, you should take the offending party aside and let them know it bothers you. I totally understand how you feel.
ETA: Read what the offending party actually said- posting on facebook for everyone to see is inappropiate/passive. Sending a PM/phone call asking this person to refrain from the fat comments is in line. Or wait until she does it again and let her no in a stern tone your baby is healthy and you won’t tolerate the fat discussion any longer. I can’t believe someone would say that.
Post # 16
@808bride: That’s a great question! I was just thinking about my friend’s baby who is 95%ile height and weight. Everyone calls him “big” or “burly” or “tall”, which seem to be better than fat and pudgy… but maybe that’s just my skewed perception.